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I think it is safe to say that GG is not an Obama fan of any sort. I would guess he's considering a 3rd party vote in 2012.

So that makes today's article somewhat more interesting.

Great American Patriots

And here is how the super-patriots of the American Right -- largely joined by their Democratic colleagues -- reacted to the speech given today by this foreign leader: with multiple standing ovations, including for ludicrous and absurd proclamations such as equating Hamas with Al Qaeda and claiming that Israel is "not a foreign occupier" in the West Bank

Glenn proceeds to wax wroth about how the Right would have eviscerated anyone who cheered a foreign leader who had just publicly disagreed with Bush. And how telling it is that the Democrats are, by and large, acting just like the Republicans.

In sum, the same faction that spent the last decade demanding fealty to the Commander-in-Chief in a Time of War upon pain of being accused of a lack of patriotism (or worse) now openly sides with a foreign leader over their own President.  The U.S. Congress humiliates itself by expressing greater admiration for and loyalty to this foreign leader than their own country's.  And because this is all about Israel, few will find this spectacle strange, or at least will be willing to say so.

So here's my question for Kossacks. Setting aside the whole I-P issue to the degree possible - does AIPAC have too much influence in our politics? That is, are legitimate US interests being subordinated to those of a foreign nation because of a uniquely powerful lobbying effort on behalf of that nation?

It seems to me that this is in fact the case. The name Jonathan Pollard comes to mind - this guy is a spy, plain and simple, who gave information not only to Israel but to his wife to aid her in her business and to South Africa as well. And yet US Representative plea for his release. Not just some random no-names: Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner, Edolphus Towns, and Bill Pascrell. I very very very much doubt whether someone who had spied on behalf of Canada or Britain or Japan would find US Representatives passing letters around the House asking for their freedom.

I may be accused of antisemitism because, after all, Israel is a Jewish nation. I protest that I would be equally concerned if a pro-British or pro-Chinese or pro-Mexican lobby wielded the same level of power that AIPAC appears to have.

Coming back to Glenn's article - this is just amazing treatment of a foreign leader who just publicly rebuked the President of the United States. I can understand the Republicans taking any opportunity to attack Obama - it is, after all, what they do. The complicity of Democrats in this betrayal is much harder to explain, and I think points to a lobby out of control.

Poll

Is AIPAC too powerful?

45%59 votes
44%57 votes
6%9 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
1%2 votes
0%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%1 votes

| 129 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and recs (38+ / 0-)

    For raising the issue of AIPAC being one example of a lobbying group with too much power - by which you can guess my poll answer.


    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:02:34 AM PDT

  •  I voted (7+ / 0-)

    yes a serious problem, not because there aren't other lobbying orgs that wield too much power The NRA jumps immediately to mind. Rather because of the power it seems to wield over foreign policy in the region. Because at the first hint of a US President even getting the slightest bit tougher on Israel, not to harm it, but to help it, they scream and get Congress to cut the President off at the knees.

    Israel is driving towards a cliff with the gas peddle to the floor and the only guard rail that will keep it from going over that cliff is the US. The longer Bibi stalls with AIPACs and Congresses assistance the weaker the guard rail gets in protecting it from hurling itself headlong over the cliff. Headlong into being an international pariah, a permanent occupier and a apartheid state.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:25:51 AM PDT

  •  Can we imagine a Mexican President (9+ / 0-)

    getting the bipartisan worship/asskissing that Netanyahu got?

    Or a Japanese one?

    Even a Canadian one?

    Imagine if a leftwinger from ANY country came--would they get this kind of rapturous reception?

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:28:25 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (5+ / 0-)

      I believe in Israel, for the most part. But I'm not comfortable with putting their (short-term) interests ahead of ours.


      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:34:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, esquimaux

      and to top it off, israel has and is of no national interest to us.

      They have no resources we need, they have no tech we need, they dont give us money, they give us little in the way of military help ( been in that area fighting for 10 years).  Even their intelligence is not to be trusted, gee (thanks for the Iraq WMDS heads up).

      Long ago we may have had to use their area for bases, that time has long since passed.

      Yeah they are a democracy in the mid east, big deal there are lots of them now.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:41:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The problem is that antisemitism, like the other (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, pino

    'isms,' isn't so cut-and-dried, and doesn't always reside in the person making whatever statement, but in history and culture.

    The question isn't really 'does AIPAC have too much power?' The question is 'do Jewish voters have too much power?' That's the bottom line, AIPAC is a powerful Jewish organization: do Jews have too much power in the US?

    We're politically active and financially successful far beyond our numbers--AIPAC isn't somehow separate from the rest of the community. Yes, there are better alternatives--I'm a big fan of J Street--but as of yet, they can't compete. So the issue isn't 'a uniquely powerful lobbying effort on behalf of Israel,' it's 'a uniquely powerful minority community, large swathes of which are focused on what they perceive (wrongly, but that's a different comment) to be their community's interests.'

    So you've got Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner-and Feingold--on the same side as AIPAC, on some issues. I don't think that's just because they're in the pocket of the lobbyists.

    Now, we can ask, 'Do Jews have too much power in the US,' just like we can ask, 'Do blacks have too much power in the US,' and 'Do gays have too much power in the US,' but we have to recognize that those are loaded questions. And not very helpful. Frankly, who cares? Saying, 'So and so is too powerful!' is the weakest possible argument. Argue against positions and policies and results--I personally think that AIPAC is more dangerous to Israel than a nuclear-armed Iran--but saying 'is AIPAC too powerful?' is a dead end.

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:32:28 AM PDT

    •  AIPAC isn't even a true "Jewish organization". (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geekesque, gustynpip, James Allen

      It's also supported by the majority of Christian lawmakers as well.  I'm sure a large part of its funding comes from non-Jewish sources.

      •  A small part, maybe. (5+ / 0-)

        I do think that the end-times support of Christians certainly makes the whole equation that much worse. But saying AIPAC isn't a Jewish organization because some non-Jews support it is like saying NOW isn't a women's organization because some non-women support it.

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:39:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That Christian support is what I find most (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gustynpip

          disturbing. To those peope, Israel's interests trump US interests and all based solely on deeply held mythological beliefs. Beliefs, I might add, that the Israeli's themselves to not share. That is seriously messed up.

          The chances of nuclear confrontation are frighteningly increased under such theologies and misaligned interests. If Israel decided they wanted to nuke Iran, whether justified or not, they'd have full support from these Christian supporters, apparantly from both sides of the aisle.

          Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

          by JTinDC on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:53:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  If Jews had so much power, there (10+ / 0-)

      would be single payer health care, robust global warming legislation, stronger protections for workers, and a more progressive tax structure.

      And we'd also have a more even policy w/r/t Israel/Palestine.

      AIPAC is not an ethnic lobby--it is an ideological/political lobby dedicated to a distinct policy agenda.   It's not concerned with the advancement of Jews--it exists to promote the interests of a foreign power.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:36:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Promoting the interests of a foreign power (0+ / 0-)

        sounds so sinister, when, in reality, AIPAC believes, just as J Street does about their position, that the United States and Israel share many of the same interests, and close cooperation will help us to advance our interests.

        •  Oh nonsense. It doesn't lobby in Israel (9+ / 0-)

          to try to get them to send us aid and diplomatic support.

          It promotes the myth that Israel and the United States have no conflicting interests.

          "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

          by Geekesque on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:40:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think AIPAC tries to get the United States (6+ / 0-)

          to aid Israel. Period. That's my main point.

          When American and Israeli interests do align, that works for both of us: win-win.

          When American and Israeli interest do not align, which is possible, I think AIPAC will come down on the side of Israel more often than I'm comfortable with.


          In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

          by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:43:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  AIPAC will come down on the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blue aardvark

            side of that certain segment of American Jews who run AIPAC, and believe what AIPAC believes, which is in self-sabotaging right-wing bullshit.

            There is no such thing as 'American' and 'Israeli' interests. An American Jew who wants America to do something which (according to you and me) helps Israel at America's expense, is still a legitimate 'American interest.' One that should be opposed, but saying that that person isn't 'an American interset' is offensive.
            .

            "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

            by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:57:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmmm (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              socalmonk

              Americans do have a variety of opinions. But I think it is weak sauce to say that all those opinions represent America's interest.

              If you believe that in a certain case the interests of America and Israel are aligned that is one thing. But some times they clearly aren't aligned - and in those cases to come down on the side of Israel is not an American interest, even if an American citizen does it.

              American interests are all of us. We can disagree about how best to make a better life for all of us - that's why politics are interesting. But someone who cares more about the interests of a foreign nation than those of the United States does not act in America's interest when they do so.


              In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

              by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:04:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are many people (0+ / 0-)

                who feel precisely that way about the Democratic party. That what it does is clearly not in America's interest--that it's a foreign body, basically, an invader that cares more about foreign interests than American interests.

                They are wrong in exactly the same way you are wrong. If a community of Americans feels that something is in its interest, then that thing becomes legitimately American. Now, it might be stupid, dangerous, even evil. But it ours.

                You're claiming that there's this one thing called 'America's interest.' There's not. And talking this way is, I think, one reason why this discussion gets so heated.

                AIPAC is wrong and dangerous. That, I think, is completely fair--as well as being true.

                AIPAC is foreign and against America's interests? That is antisemitic. First, because AIPAC is empirically not foreign. And second, because it's only 'against America's interests' if it's some sort of Fifth Column--which means that a large part of the Jewish community is a Fifth Column. Which is not a new notion.

                "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

                by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:15:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Jews are Jewy. (3+ / 0-)

        We support single-paying, glower warming legislation, progressive tax structures, etc.

        But nothing captures the attention--or pocketbook--of large segments of the Jewish community as well as existential threats. I think AIPAC is injurious to Israel, myself, but of course it's an ethnic organization. If it weren't, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Frankly, denying that AIPAC is Jewish is like saying, 'I don't think of Obama as black.'

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:42:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That raises the question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton, esquimaux

      Of why American Jews support AIPAC. It does not appear to me that most American Jews like Netanyahu. So why contribute to an organization that backs his authoritarian style of rule?

      The option of writing AIPAC a letter which says "No $ until you stop supporting Likud and similar parties" exists. Why not exercise it?


      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:37:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fear, mostly. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, socalmonk

        There is a chance, I think it's vanishingly small, but it exists, that Israel will get nuked, and millions of Jews will be murdered, again. That is very, very emotionally real for very, very many Jews, especially of my parents' generation.

        So even if they know that AIPAC is dangerous, they respond to the fear.

        And inertia--we've supported AIPAC for a long time, and the conflict between a mostly-left community supporting a very-right organization is still coming into focus. But it's a generational thing, which will change. Is changing.

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:46:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Never again (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          socalmonk, Seneca Doane

          I absolutely understand the "never again" attitude. Passive resistance a la Gandhi or ML King would be welcomed with delight by certain people who are enemies of Israel.

          Having said that - the world is changing. If the debacle in Lebanon against Hizbollah proved anything, it proved that the might of Israeli arms relative to their neighbors is on a long slow decline.

          And in negotiations of this sort relative power is critical. The Jews will get a better deal from the Arabs today than they will in 10 years.

          As Krugman wrote - there just aren't that many Jews. You have to find ways to get along with non-Jews. The path of pure power is ultimately futile.


          In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

          by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:56:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't believe that AIPAC represents the majority (5+ / 0-)

      sentiment of American Jews, or even necessarily the majority of Israeli Jews. It represents the right in Israel, the center to a lesser extent, and the left not at all. So I have to disagree that the bottom line is 'do Jewish voters have too much power?' I think the bottom line is that a FOREIGN LOBBY has too much power.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:42:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree with you 100%. There are many Jews (2+ / 0-)

      who don't support things AIPAC does.  They are, quite definitely, not one and the same.

      "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

      by gustynpip on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:01:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree that you disagree. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        I never said that there aren't many Jews who don't support AIPAC. I hate it, myself.

        People seem to have a real problem with this.

        Say I've got a basket of fruit. 95% of the fruit are apples, 5% are oranges. I say, 'Well, most of the fruit in that basket are apples. So pretending that it's just a basket of assorted fruit, when in fact it's really an apple basket, is silly.'

        You say, 'Most of the apples in the orchard are not in that basket!'

        "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

        by GussieFN on Thu May 26, 2011 at 09:06:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, that is not the question. AIPAC does not speak (0+ / 0-)

      for all Jewish voters, and to say that the question is really, "Do Jewish voters have too much power?" is getting ugly. I see free breakfast in your future...

  •  Start an anti-AIPAC lobbying group. (0+ / 0-)

    Raise money, donate to candidates, get powerful yourself.  Complaining about AIPAC's influence is just sour grapes, really.

  •  Very important questions, blue... (4+ / 0-)

    Many thanks for the diary.

    Stonewall was a RIOT!

    by ExStr8 on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:34:48 AM PDT

  •  More important question for Israel is (6+ / 0-)

    as a BBC analyst put it

    Mr Obama believes that the changes sweeping through the Middle East will affect Israel too, and that some bold steps are needed to head off worse crises in the future.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu has chosen to stick with a view of Israel’s security that is based on what he believes has worked well in the past.

    He does not appear to believe that the new Middle East that is emerging will demand fresh thinking.

    The likelihood now is that both the US and Israel will continue to be spectators as the Arab world changes.

    The US is far enough away, and strong enough, to insulate itself against the backwash. Israel is not.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/...

    One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists.
    A No-Drama Obama Site & Some Straight Talkin'

    by amk for obama on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:46:24 AM PDT

    •  The essential problem of conservatism (5+ / 0-)

      Is that sooner or later the world changes enough that you simply can't carry on as you have been.

      What happens if the Arab Spring accomplishes nothing near-term except a reduction in corruption in Tunisia and Egypt?

      Well, that in turn leads to economic growth in those nations. Which increases their influence and political strength, and possibly their military strength.

      That affects the ME balance of power in a variety of ways.


      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Thu May 26, 2011 at 08:49:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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